Color, 1974, 75m.
Directed by Ramdjan Abdoelrahman
Starring Ma;c Panday, Tracy Parrish, Sally Savalas, Tricia Welch, Joey Panday, Astrid Brown, Ritchie Reynolds, Ronald Jones
Code Red (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)
This very '70s, very crazy vigilante tale is one of the rare exploitation films cranked out by Suriname, the South American Dutch-established state adjoining Guyana. Pretty much every revenge trope you can think of is thrown in here, but it's delivered in a style closer to the scummier titles coming out of the Philippines and Indonesia as it cranks up the funk music, wacko set pieces, and violence to an absurd degree unlike anything in American cinemas. Whether it's any good of course will be completely up to the viewer.
While being transported to prison, Tyrone Pedro (Panday) manages to get out of the car and make a break for the hills with bullet-firing officers left behind. Through flashbacks we find out that he's been set up for the murder of his new wife, Gina (Savalas), by a trio of punks who decided to go on a crime spree after getting really, really high and playing a game involving a miniature roulette wheel and a pack of cards reading "Sex" and "Blood." The thugs ambush the happy couple and then rape and kill the poor woman in a graveyard, with our hero left for dead to contend with the police. Now manhunt notices are all over the radio as he slaps on a curly wig and decides to hunt down and kill each of the men responsible for ruining his life.
Shot in 1974 under the title Operation Makonaima, this was barely given a theatrical release abroad (mainly in Holland, of course) and finally made it to American shores for a very tiny theatrical run in 1981 as The Obsessed One courtesy of 21st Century. In typical fashion, the Sam Sherman-run company did its best to disguise this as a different genre entirely, in this case a blaxploitation horror film: "The bride finally died... her torture ended. For him, it was the beginning of a brutal, savage trail of possessed horror! He became The Obsessed One... playing the Game of Death with the Devil!"
Technically that's not inaccurate, but the few who stumbled into this one in the theater were probably a tad confused to get an urban crime film instead. Of course, if you know what you're getting into there's plenty of low-rent fun to be had, mainly thanks to that insidiously catchy, funky score and some surprisingly sadistic flourishes, such as one panicky villain getting strung up by his legs in a bathroom and castrated. There's also a weird gender bender gag for no good reason and a lot of nasty razor action, plus some sloppy but amusing chase scenes, some gratuitous T&A in a bathtub, a scene-stealing pimp in red named Sugarcane (Jones) complete with (yes) a cane, an endless paddling scene in a lake, some of the scariest sex sounds you'll ever hear ("Ay yai yai yai!"), and an audio track that alternates between tinny on-set dialogue and hilarious overdubbing, especially the opening scene.
This very obscure film apparently hasn't been released on video before, so it's especially miraculous to see it turning up on Blu-ray from Code Red. Image quality is difficult to evaluate since this looks like it was shot very cheaply on different types of film stock (with some shots suddenly pumping up in brightness), so expect loads of film grain and inconsistent detail. That said, this may well be exactly how it was shot for all one can tell, and it's certainly quite watchable. The wonky compositions sometimes look like they'd be roomier at 1.33:1, but with the way this is shot it's hard to say for sure. The English DTS-MA HD audio sounds fine for what amounts to a pretty lo-fi mix from the period. There's no menu screen, but a dupey copy of the theatrical trailer pops up after the end credits proclaiming, "Now, a magnificent movie masterpiece delving into the deepest of human emotions!" Indeed.